River City reaches out to Miss.

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 19, 2005

Following Hurricane Katrina, the city of Demopolis assisted Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast by hosting several families of evacuees.

Now, the city hopes to kick up its support of hurricane victims. Council members voted Thursday night to explore the possibility of becoming a “sister city” for Waveland, Miss. to aid in their recovery.

The idea came when Mayor Cecil P. Williamson and Councilman Thomas Moore attended a National League of Cities conference recently and learned of the program. Williamson said Waveland was the best fit for Demopolis because their populations were similar in size. She said the last four months have been a trying time for the people of Waveland.

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“It has been completely demolished,” Williamson said. “There are three phases they have gone through. The first is shock, the second is that they had an overload of help in the first 60 days and it was not organized. Now they have left and the holidays are setting in.”

The city has several needs, Williamson said, but there were only so many the city could feasibly provide.

“One of the things they are going to need is a building inspector,” Williamson said. “There will be lots of things that they need and I don’t know what all those things will be, or if we will be able to provide them. If the council would like to do this, we can decide on a plan to contact them and see what they need.”

Adopting Waveland, Williamsons said, was not just a project for the city. She said she would like to see community support as well.

“There may be some needs we can address, not only as a council, but as a community,” Williamson said. “We can talk to the community and see if they want to get involved and adopt this city.”

Moore felt it would be great if the city were able to help out. However, he said they should set achievable goals.

“I think it is a great idea, but we need to commit to doing what is reasonable,” Moore said. “We have to see if it is practical. I think the concept is great and I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t adopt them and explore ways to help.”

The council voted to contact city leaders for Waveland and see where their efforts would be most effective. Some council members had suggestions of items the city could easily provide.

Councilman Jack Cooley felt it might be possible to provide items the city ho longer used.

“There could be a possibility that they may need something we have on a surplus s basis,” Cooley said. “That is something we could look at.”

Councilman Woody Collins felt the city could provide manpower.

“If we could loan them a building inspector or something like that for a week or two, that is something that is not completely out of the realm of us being able to fund it,” Collins said. “That may be something we could do. I like the idea.”

Williamson said she would contact the Mayor of Waveland to evaluate the city’s needs.